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WFP mourns loss of aid worker in Algiers bombing

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today mourned the loss of a staff member who was killed together with at least 45 other people in Tuesday’s terrorist bombing in Algiers.

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran joined UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and others in condemning the attack and conveyed her condolences to the family of Gene Luna, the WFP staff member who died under the rubble.

WFP family

Copyright: 2007 WFP/Photo Unit
Gene Luna, pictured in Afghanistan, where she worked with WFP for five years.
“We have lost a dedicated member of our WFP family, as well as many others who served to help those in need. I am outraged and saddened at this senseless act of violence against those helping the world’s most vulnerable. My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those who died,” Sheeran said.

Luna, 48, was a Philippines national. She joined WFP in Afghanistan as a finance officer five years ago and had been transferred to Algiers only last week.

Sheeran also telephoned Lynda Matougui, another WFP staff member who was injured in the blast. She said everything possible would be done to help Matougui, who was pulled out of the rubble and is being evacuated today for medical treatment.

Destroyed

The third floor of the UN building housing the WFP offices was completely destroyed. However, most of the staff members were outside the office on a training course and therefore escaped the attack.

Sheeran said that despite the many security measures that WFP and other UN agencies have taken, this tragedy was a strong reminder of the risks that humanitarian workers take to help the poor and the hungry.

So far this year, 36 humanitarian workers serving WFP have been killed, injured or detained.